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Letter to Chairman Goodlatte 

October 11, 2018 
Page 1 of 3 
 

October 11, 2018

via Electronic Mail

Bob Goodlatte
Chairman
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary
c/o Arthur Baker
Arthur.Baker@mail.house.gov

Re: Glenn Simpson

Dear Chairman Goodlatte:

On behalf of Glenn Simpson, we are responding to the subpoena issued by the House
Committee on the Judiciary for a confidential deposition.

Consistent with the September 27, 2018 letter we sent to you, Mr. Simpson, whose
testimony is a matter of public record, will not be participating in a confidential deposition before
this Committee. He will instead invoke his constitutional rights not to testify under the First and Fifth
Amendments of the Constitution.1

This Committee’s inquiry is not designed to discover the truth. The obvious – and at times
explicitly stated – goal of this Committee is to discredit and otherwise damage witnesses to
Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, all as part of an effort to protect a President who has
sought to placate and curry favor with a hostile foreign power and who demands that the Justice
Department stop investigating him.

Through its investigation, the Committee has abdicated and indeed perverted its
constitutional and traditional role. Rather than probe White House interference with Department
of Justice investigations, this Committee has instead trained its sights on the refusal of the
Department of Justice to comply with the President’s demands. Such “oversight” reverses
longstanding policy, under which Department of Justice investigations are supposed to be free

                                                            
1 See Emspak v. United States, 349 US 190 (1955) and Quinn v. United States, 349 US 155 (1955), in which the Court
reversed contempt convictions for witnesses, who refused to answer numerous questions posed at a House Un-
American Activities Committee hearing by asserting “[primarily] the First Amendment of the Constitution,
supplemented by the Fifth Amendment” because the references to the Fifth Amendment were sufficient to invoke the
privilege against self-incrimination.
Letter to Chairman Goodlatte 
October 11, 2018 
Page 2 of 3 
 
from the political influence of the White House.2 Indeed, this “norm and practice” of prosecutorial
independence was “sufficiently entrenched by 1973 for Attorney General Elliot Richardson and
his deputy, William Ruckelshaus, to resign rather than follow President Richard Nixon’s order to
fire the Watergate special prosecutor.”3

To help weaken the independence of this Justice Department, the Committee has sought to
ruin the reputations of some of the government’s most dedicated and experienced civil servants,
and, in some instances, has deprived our country of their able assistance in the increasingly urgent
fight against foreign interference with our democracy.

For example, this Committee has sought to depict the relationship between Christopher
Steele and Bruce Ohr – one of the UK’s top experts on Russia and one of the Justice Department’s
leading experts on Russian organized crime – as somehow scandalous, when we should all want
these two experts to share information in order to make us safer. No American should be
required to participate in efforts to malign and falsely implicate dedicated national security
professionals who have served their countries for decades with distinction.

Additionally, this Committee has attempted to prejudge and incriminate our client and his
associates by arguing that it is improper for a campaign contractor to report a crime to law
enforcement – no matter how egregious the crime, no matter how well qualified the person
evaluating the facts, and no matter how potentially harmful that crime might be to the integrity of
our political system.

This Committee has repeatedly interviewed witnesses in secret, only to selectively leak
from the interviews to disparage those witnesses and promulgate a patently false narrative. The

                                                            
2 See Eric Tucker, Why the Justice Department Operates Free of White House Sway, L.A. TIMES, Nov. 24, 2016 (“Long-

standing protocol dictates that the FBI and Justice Department operate free of political influence or meddling from
the White House.”), available at http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-justice-department-white-house-
20161123-story.html. In 2007, Senator Patrick Leahy explained: “The effectiveness and integrity of the
administration of justice depends upon the Department of Justice … operating free of political interference. The most
dangerous potential source of such interference is the White House.” Committee on the Judiciary, Sen. Patrick Leahy,
The Security from Political Interference in Justice Act of 2007, S. Rep. No. 110-203, Oct. 23, 2007, at 2,
https://www.congress.gov/110/crpt/srpt203/CRPT-110srpt203.pdf. See also Hearings before the Comm. on the
Judiciary, U.S. Senate, 110th Cong., Preserving Prosecutorial Independence: Is the Department of Justice Politicizing
the Hiring and Firing of U.S. Attorneys?, at 213, May 15, 2007, available at
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-110shrg35800/pdf/CHRG-110shrg35800.pdf (At a hearing to investigate
the firing of U.S. Attorneys in December 2006, partway through President Bush’s term, Senator Chuck Schumer stated:
“[M]any have been concerned that [Attorney General] Alberto Gonzales has made the Justice Department a mere
extension of the White House, where independence takes a back seat to service to the White House, where the rule
of law takes a back seat to the political needs of the President’s party.”). More recently, Senate Judiciary Committee
Chairman Chuck Grassley praised Rod Rosenstein’s commitment to preserving the independence of the Justice
Department: “Rod Rosenstein’s well-earned reputation for independence garners him high praise from Republicans
and Democrats alike…. He has pledged to ‘defend the integrity and independence of our Justice Department…”.
Press Release: Grassley: Rosenstein will Keep Promise of Independence as Deputy AG, Apr. 25, 2017, available at
https://www.grassley.senate.gov/news/news-releases/grassley-rosenstein-will-keep-promise-independence-deputy-
ag.
3 Isaac Arnsdorf, Sessions Faces Decision on Politicizing Justice Department, POLITICO, Jan. 9, 2017, available at

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/jeff-sessions-attorney-general-justice-233382.
Letter to Chairman Goodlatte 
October 11, 2018 
Page 3 of 3 
 
committee did so again this month.4 This Committee’s clear abuse of confidential proceedings has
also prompted former FBI Director James Comey, through counsel, to reject a closed-door
interview.5 We have been down this road. Our client has voluntarily testified before three
congressional committees. After reading and hearing in the news media mischaracterizations of
Mr. Simpson’s testimony, our clients demanded publication of the transcripts in full, which have
been public now for nearly a year.

The Committee has refused to define the scope of the deposition, but its members have
already falsely accused Mr. Simpson of “lying”6 – ample basis for us to be concerned that this
Committee is only seeking to falsely incriminate Mr. Simpson. Thus, the service of a subpoena on
Mr. Simpson for a closed-door deposition by politicians who have already exhibited abundant
bad faith leaves him with no other decision than to stand on his constitutional rights under the First
and Fifth Amendments not to testify. The Founders specifically designed the First and Fifth
Amendment as fail-safe features should the three branches of government malfunction and abuse
the rights of individual citizens. The Legislative Branch does not have the authority to abrogate
these rights, nor to punish Americans for exercising them.

In light of Mr. Simpson’s assertion of his constitutional privileges not to testify, we ask that
he be excused from appearing for the deposition on October 16, 2018. This approach is
consistent with the better practices of House and Senate Committees receiving notice of a witness’s
intention to invoke his constitutional privileges not to testify.7 Please advise. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Joshua A. Levy
Robert F. Muse
Rachel M. Clattenburg

cc: Hon. Jerrold Nadler


Ranking Member

                                                            
4 See Catherine Herridge, Top FBI Lawyer Baker Offers “Explosive” Testimony on “Abnormal” Handling of Russia Probe
into Trump Campaign: Lawmakers, FOX NEWS, Oct. 4, 2018 (including video on Reps. Meadows and Jordan
selectively leaking from James Baker’s confidential interview), available at https://www.foxnews.com/politics/top-fbi-
lawyer-baker-offers-explosive-testimony-on-abnormal-handling-of-russia-probe-into-trump-campaign-lawmakers.
5 See Jeremy Herb, Comey Declines House GOP Interview – But Offers to Testify Publicly, CNN, Oct. 1, 2018,

available at https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/01/politics/james-comey-house-gop-interview/index.html.
6 See Kyle Cheney, GOP Lawmakers Grill DOJ Official Ohr over Trump Dossier, POLITICO, Aug. 28, 2018, available at

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/08/28/bruce-ohr-congressional-interview-799031.
7 See SAM DASH, CHIEF COUNSEL: INSIDE THE ERVIN COMMITTEE – THE UNTOLD STORY OF WATERGATE (1976).